Beautiful people

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty...” goes the concluding line of a renowned poem by John Keats. Are these the confessions of an aesthete or the ramblings of a shallow mortal? Perceptions may be varied or mixed. I, a self-confessed aesthete find myself agreeing with Keats. Aesthetics can technically be defined as a branch of philosophy, dealing with the nature of beauty; taste and creation and the appreciation of the same. Think of the breath-taking painting of Mona-Lisa, the beauteous sculpture of Venus de Milo sans arms or the taste of exquisite wine (or coffee) and you may know what I am talking about. Nature and the ability to take delight in it also speak of aesthetics.

Among the differently-abled, there are many stalwarts, especially in the academic and sports arena. One definitely applauds and is inspired by their achievements. One fundamental question raises its hood though. As a person with a disability myself and having gone through associated trials and tribulations, I find myself wondering — are most people with physical problems using only faculties of the mind (yes, hard core intellect) and some raw energy to fuel their accomplishments?

Are differently-abled people in touch with or for that matter acknowledging the aesthetic dimension of their personalities at all?

I have sometimes been referred to as ‘crippled.’ However according to me, no corporeal frame blessed with life can be called crippled or deformed. It is a divine gift which has to be kept fit by regular exercise, yoga, right eating and positive thinking. The hair, skin, nails and teeth have to be well-maintained enough to glitter. Clothes have to be presentable if not expensive. All senses — the visual, olfactory, kinesthetic, auditory and tactile have to be utilised to the utmost to create a personality and aura that is pleasing.
I am sure the day will arrive when my stylish iron calipers and sleek crutches will become fashion statements by themselves and will be considered so ‘cool’ that every person, orthopedic problem or not, will have a pair of each stacked in the cupboard. Who knows, it may even become hot on the ramp.  Are you reading this, Sabyasachi Mukherjee? How about considering physically challenged models some time?

This is not vanity; mind you, just pride and gratitude in one’s creation. If the poets of the romantic era were ‘high priests’ of nature — is it wrong to admire and worship one’s own form along with the aids that are essential for one’s functioning and locomotion? I don’t think so. I earnestly wait for the day when differently-abled people are referred to as ‘Beautiful People.’


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